Two days ago marked the two year anniversary of my Mom’s death. I think of my parents everyday, but when March comes a shadow tends to come. God took them both very early and birthday, death, and wedding anniversary’s are all this month. It is impossible not to reflect on the last dark days that were filled with so much pain and loss and the knowledge that there was nothing we could do to stop the way cancer was taking Mom’s body. She faded away from us very slowly and in many ways the most devastating was watching every capacity she had drift away. There are so many aspects that make us human and present with people. Our physical, mental, emotional, and social capacities. It rocked me to my very core to watch these aspects leave my mom slowly but surely in the final days and weeks. The truth is it still haunts me at times.
But there was one thing that persevered through the losses and that was her spirit. In those final days Christan and I had a few miraculous opportunities to worship with her. She had already lost the ability to talk fluidly and have consistent thoughts and she never really spoke about what she was feeling and experiencing but she would softly whisper the revelation song by Kari Jobe (her favorite artist). Kari Jobe played constantly in her room, and one evening Christan and I had the opportunity to worship our Savior with her and sing “holy holy is The Lord god almighty” even as she was physically, mentally, and emotionally fading away. For the longest time I did not want to think about that moment nor for the following year did I lead that song in worship at our church. I had to grapple with my Savior and sovereign king who chose to say no to me on, as of November 2012, four occasions. He took all four parents at a young age in a matter of a handful of years. And furthermore, he allowed my mom to lose all her capacities and cancer to ravage her body. I told God after Kendall’s mom died 8 months after my mom, “just call me Mara, as Naomi said in the book of Ruth” because I am bitter. I faced 2013 with paralyzingly fear, what tragedy would happen this year?
I braced myself because I was convinced that God would continue to deal me the hand I was destined to have. A hand of suffering and just surviving with Him. I began counseling sessions something I believe in with all my heart, after all I am a counselor. My journey of redemption and healing began there. My journey of healing and redemption has been wrought with anger, sadness, joy, and peace.
Yes, these feelings can and do exist together.
And yes healing came not from “forgetting” the pain from the past and present, but rather EMBRACING the pain and the past.
I tell my clients all the time, how can you learn from something you intentionally neglect, ignore, or forget? How can God redeem something you won’t surrender? And how can you surrender something you will not acknowledge and process?
To put it very bluntly we defend a lack of trust in God with ignoring or supposedly forgetting our pain and emotions.
And yes I know the fears, but what of I get lost or stuck in it? My response to that if you are processing it and surrendering it to God you will not get stuck.
Full surrender to God results in enpowerment not entanglement.
He calls us to cast our cares on Him and hou cannot cast cares you bury.
Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Upon putting on the new self, scripture states here that it is being renewed in knowledge (root word means awareness). As we increase our awareness/knowledge of ourselves in Him, we are able to become more like Him. As Jesus works in and through our lives He works with who He created us to be and all the emotions He created.
In order to understand today we must understand our past and jesus comes in and brings those areas of pain and experiences into awareness so they can be processed, surrendered, and redeemed.
A year later, I am still in process but I see with greater clarity and focus. The glass isn’t as dark and cloudy, and it was because I allowed myself to feel all of it, and to examine my past and myself with Jesus. I understand the depth and the reality of my Savior and His mercy. I understand that even as my mom’s physical existence faded away her spirit man worshiped with us, and we tasted a small small taste of glory in that room. I understand that I have spent much of my life at a deep unconscious level believing that what I did for God and others was of the most importance. To the extent of sacrificing my own needs and boundaries. I understand that I was fiercly independent, and did not allow others to serve and love me, including my Heavenly father.
Most of all I understand Jesus loves me, really loves me. Regardless of what I do for him, regardless of what I sacrafice and regardless of how much I screw up.
The last several years methodically stripped me of everything I knew and understood about my faith, ministry, and Jesus. For seven years this process went on. I specifically remember mom being diagnosed two weeks before Destiny church was to start.
I wept and asked God how could I possibly lead people and help my widowed mom. He told me “you will lead in great pain but through it my strength will be known and perfected”
He’s been faithful to do just that. I more than came to the end off myself in every area: caring for my mom, my family, obtaining my lisence as a counselor and masters degree (which I will be done with in may), and being a minister of His truth.
But what little I offered Him, He faithfully multiplied over and over again and have come to realize in a brand new way it really has nothing absolutely nothing to do with me.
Most recently He has reintroduced Himself to me. He had to strip away my ways of believing and seeing based on my history, family of origin, and losses.
He is my beloved and I am His.
I know this now, really know this. All of His no’s are not a rejection of me but rather His loving care for me. I recently began leading “the revelation song.” I weep every time as I sing my favorite verse
“filled with wonder awe struck wonder, at the mention of your name. Jesus your name is power, breath and living water, such a marvelous mystery”
I am truly filled with a wonder I cannot describe at the faithful, unconditional, redeeming, poweful love of my savior.
He can be trusted with all of it, my pain, my past, my anger, my sadness, my doubt, my questions, my insecurities, my bitterness, my ministries, my worth, my identity. Should I keep going? He can be trusted with all of it, so there is no need to ignore it or run from it.
Rather I embrace it daily, allowing Him to bring it into awareness so it can be processed, surrendered, and redeemed.
Mom, I love you and I miss you everyday. I long for your smile, hug, and the voice of excitement and adoration you had for grandchildren. I miss your constant support. I recently fell and tore ligaments in my ankle and once again I came face to face with the reality you were not here. You were amazing at that. You would have flown out here and taken care of your grand babies. You would have understood why I was so frustrated and angry, and you would have told me that I was going to finish school and get my licswnce regardless. Oh how I miss you. But with that said I am so thankful that when we allow God he uses the most devastating of circumstances to revolutionize our internal world. He truly bring beauty from ashes. Till we meet again, in the presence of our Savior.